A June 16, 2015 Memorandum issued by the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported a 60% decline in the population of the Alexander Archipelago wolf in the Prince of Wales Island area between 2013 and 2014. The wolf species, endemic to the coastal rainforests of Southeast Alaska, had been showing signs of alarming decline. ADF&G’s recent scientific data confirmed that the population on Prince of Wales Island may be as low as 50 animals. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is working toward a year-end determination on whether to protect the wolf as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Crag is currently representing five organizations in a challenge to the Big Thorne timber sale—the largest sale on the Tongass National Forest in over two decades. The timber sale will cut down old-growth rainforest that provides key habitat for Sitka black-tailed deer—the primary prey of the wolf—while building more logging roads that serve as access points for hunters and trappers that target wolves both legally and illegally. Crag brought the lawsuit on behalf of Cascadia Wildlands, Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community, Center for Biological Diversity, and the Boat Company to challenge the Forest Service’s failure to reconcile authorization of additional old-growth logging and road building in an area already showing signs of unsustainable wolf mortality.